Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise 11.5 is here, so what’s new? 

  

  • A new Custom Views feature was introduced in the Connections tab. This addition provides the following functionality:
    • It allow users to manage the connections on display in Heat Map, Spotlight Today, Alarms by Time and Alarm Log windows.
    • The same connection can be shared amongst multiple Custom Views.
    • Custom Views can be used in configuration windows such as templates and Alarm Actions eliminating the need to select connections individually.
  • There have also been several enhancements made to the interface display of the following configurations dialogues: Alarms, Background Schedules and Alarm Actions Editor.
      • Alarms and Background Scheduling dialogues:
        • The dialogues now include a cascading feature that separates list of alarms/collections from configuration settings.
        • A new column labeled Customized for each alarm/collection indicates if a configuration setting has been modified by a user.

      • Alarm Action Editor dialogue:
        • An expanded dialogue window for lists of conditions and list of actions allows for enhanced visibility of all available options.
        • This dialogue is now re-sizable allowing for more user friendly.
  • A new Configuration Templates feature was introduced allowing users to re-apply configuration settings of a template or an existing connection to other connections. Connections to re-apply the configuration can be selected individually or via a range of groupings such as connection tags and membership of a connection view. You can find Configuration templates in the following dialogues: Alarms, Background Scheduling, SQL Analysis, SQL Server Response Time, Custom Counters and Error Log Entries.
  • A new Alarm Action condition ‘Send PagerDuty® Incident’ will raise an incident report to an existing PagerDuty® service.  PagerDuty® can then be used to appropriately alert via SMS, email, phone calls and push notifications to users.
  • Spotlight Mobile monitoring can now accept push notifications from Spotlight similar to receiving text messages.
    • Uses can enable ‘Send push notification to my mobile device’ condition in Alarm Action Editor dialogue.
    • Spotlight will automatically utilize user’s existing Spotlight Essentials user account to send notification to mobile devices
    • Spotlight Mobile monitoring needs to be configured with an Essential user account.
  • Spotlight Management Pack for SCOM can now manage Spotlight alarms through SCOM alerts, for example raise SCOM tickets.
  • This release supports SQL Server 2016:
    • Spotlight can now monitor SQL Server instances 2016 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Spotlight Playback database can be installed on SQL Server 2016
    • Spotlight Statistics Repository can be installed on SQL Server 2016
  • Connection Discovery Wizard can now locate Windows Servers on the network. Spotlight can now import connection tags from a file using this wizard.
  • There are some added enhancements to Spotlight alarms:
    • Long Running SQL alarm has an enhanced alarm message. It now includes the host name, program name and status.
    • Alarms requiring acknowledgment that have not been acknowledged are cleared automatically when their age exceeds available playback history.
    • The Spotlight factory settings for alarms requiring acknowledgment has changed. Only Connection Failure alarms are now factory set to require acknowledgment. Refer to the upgrade section in these Release Notes or the Deployment Guide for more information.
    • Spotlight raises an alarm when the count of Virtual Log Files (VLFs) is excessive. This new alarm is called SQL Virtual Log Files Count.
    • Spotlight now raises an alarm when it cannot access the File Share Witness resource in a Cluster.
    • I/O Wait Time alarm renamed to I/O Stall Time alarm.
  • There are notable changes made to Workload Analysis, Wait Events and Performance Health drilldowns:
    • Performance Health drilldown now shows the current wait rate as a percentage of total available CPU time.
    • Performance Health drilldown now includes enhancements to the Instance Wait Time chart. The CPU and IO categories now appear first on the bar chart. Idle waits have been removed from the calculations and display of the Performance Health drilldown.
    • Wait Events drilldown includes a new column that has been added to the grid. Percentage of Total Available CPU Time shows the proportion of available CPU time spent on this wait type over the selected time frame (time frame selected on this drilldown page).
    • Wait Events filtering now captures all non-idle wait events, not just the ones that have a SQL statement attached; for system sessions Spotlight identifies the system session. If the Wait Event does not include the application, database or user the text <Unknown> is displayed. The performance health scoring is updated to include the network, Misc, backup and SOS wait categories. The list of ignored wait types has moved into SQL scripts.
    • Wait Events drilldown provides more textual information to the message "SQL not available"
    • Wait Events drilldown now defaults to showing 15 minutes of wait data when you first enter the drilldown.
    • Wait Events drilldown shows the proportion of available CPU time spent on the wait type over the selected time frame.
    • The SQL Server Workload Analysis and Wait Events drilldowns are now linked. Locate a SQL statement in the Workload Analysis drilldown and click to see that same statement in the Wait Events drilldown (and vice versa). Workload Analysis provides execution details of the SQL statement such as how many times the query ran. The Wait Events drilldown shows what the query is waiting on.
    • Wait Events and Wait Statistics drilldowns now list reported Wait Types that have been reassessed and streamlined.
    • Wait Type CX_PACKET is now visible in SQL Server Wait Events and Wait Statistics drilldowns.
    • Wait Statistics has new categories in the Wait Time Trend chart. Idle category Wait Events have been removed from the Wait Detail grid.
    • The Workload Analysis Schedule is by default scheduled to run every minute instead of every 5 minutes.
  • There are also some new updates to Tempdb drilldown:
    • Visual improvements have been made to the Tempdb Configuration Health page.
    • A Refined advice for Tempdb advice applied when the number of processors is greater than 8.
    • Spotlight now requests Tempdb configuration updates less frequently. Updates are added to Spotlight via an overnight update or a manual refresh.
    • Spotlight now raises an alarm when Tempdb files are of unequal physical size.
  • There has been some changes to the SQL Activity drilldown:
    • IO by File (Virtual File Statistics collection) of SQL Activity is now updated more frequently by default - every 5 minutes.
    • The Top SQL Statements drilldown has moved into the SQL Activity drilldown.

  • For SQL Server drilldowns, the SQL Activity | Wait Statistics drilldown has shifted to the top level.
    • Some other notable changes and enhancements:
    • Spotlight Today | Group by Alarm display now shows the number of connections affected by each alarm.
    • In the Alarm Log when Filter by Severity is used, alarms that are acknowledged appear in the Severity column at their previous severity level in the form: "High Severity (Acknowledged)".
    • There are enhancements to the Custom Counters alarm work flow where the SQL Server Custom Counters alarm is now independent from the Windows Custom Counters alarm. The Custom Counters configuration treats the two sets of custom counters separately, the alarms are raised separately, there is clear separation when displaying and filtering custom counter alarms.
    • Monitoring SQL Server Replication now uses SQL rather than .NET Microsoft SqlServer.RMO assembly to gather metrics. Microsoft.SqlServer.RMO was deprecated in SQL Server 2012.       
    • The Spotlight Diagnostic Server address can now be specified in IPv6 format using http syntax. Http syntax encloses the IPv6 address in square brackets. For example: [fe80::3c9e:9fdc:df79:8d8c%3]:80         
    • For collecting data in Spotlight Statistics Repository the Blocking List schedule is no longer editable. The Spotlight Statistics Repository gets this data from the background data (Playback Database) to be consistent with the Spotlight Client. This corrects an issue where the Spotlight Statistics Repository previously missed sessions that blocked for less than 10 minutes and weren't blocked at the time of the collection.       
    • In Configure | Spotlight Essentials dialogue you can now clear the check boxes to clear your Spotlight Essentials account details from the configuration.        
    • Debug Logging is now supported in Spotlight, so under the direction of a Support technician a higher level of logs can be included in the Support bundle to assist in resolving Spotlight issues.   
    • The Connection Discovery Wizard now supports ‘host,port’ syntax.
    • You can now manage Spotlight connections from the command line.
    • Enhancements to the handling and performance of connection locks.
    • In SQL Server | Memory drilldown the Buffer Cache contents chart was replaced with the Buffer Cache Page Life Expectancy chart.
    • In Reports | Enterprise SQL Server Inventory Report a new "Service Pack" column was added.
    • The Status bar message now includes the number of licenses in use.

For a full list and further details about new features, please refer to the Release Notes found in the Support Portal's Technical Documentation page here